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Brown dwarfs are the oddballs of the cosmos, more massive than planets but not heavy enough to generate the thermonuclear fusion that powers real stars. Now astronomers have found the coldest brown dwarf to date.
The failed star might represent a new class of objects that are a missing link between planets and stars.
The mass of brown dwarfs is usually less than 70 Jupiter masses. In contrast to a star like our sun, which spends most of its lifetime burning hydrogen and keeping a constant internal temperature, a brown dwarf spends its lifetime getting colder and colder.